Leitrim manager Hugh Donnelly (back to camera) pictured with his management team last Sunday Picture: Willie Donnellan
Pride at his team’s performance mixed with frustration over key refereeing decisions for manager Hugh Donnelly after Leitrim’s extra-time loss to Offaly last Sunday in Kinnegad.
“It's disappointing when you lose any game,” Hugh told the Observer after the 2-16 to 3-10 extra-time loss, adding “We fought tooth and nail, I’m immensely proud of the girls and how hard they worked. We had a serious injury there too to Emma McGovern and that affects the game but I can’t ask for much more, they gave 110%. Credit to the girls, they’ve done everything we’ve asked of them as a management team and the next lock of weeks will be no different.”
But there was no mistaking the annoyance the Leitrim manager felt at the performance of Mayo referee Mel Kenny: “It certainly wasn’t us that lost the game and I was probably critical in terms of the officials but some of the decisions were very questionable.
“That is the frustrating thing about it because when you work and train three or four nights a week, work really hard and commit to what we’ve committed to and some of the decisions .... but anyway, it is what it is.”
Asked specifically about an incident where Sarah Reynolds seemed to be fouled for what should have been a penalty, Hugh said “It just wasn’t that, there were two or three in the first half where Leah Fox was taken down. All we asked from any official is consistency and we didn’t get that today. One team had to fight seriously hard for some of the frees they were getting compared to the other.”
The Leitrim manager also paid tribute to Offaly: “Credit to Offaly, they worked hard and they fought to the bitter end and at the end of the day, we were beaten. That Offaly team is not a bad team and they brought a level of physicality to the game. At the end of the day, we had chances, we had opportunities and we didn’t take them so credit to Offaly, they did and they are in the League final.
“We’ll analyse the game, there are probably periods of the game where we made the wrong decisions and wrong choices and lacked a bit of composure on the ball.”
After missing out promotion, Leitrim now turn their attention to retaining their Connacht Intermediate title before the All-Ireland series: “We’ve to go back to the drawing board. We’ll take this week off, let them go back to their clubs and let them have a bit of time off. We’ll do a little bit of analysis on this and prepare for a Connacht Intermediate championship which again is another big battle down the road.”
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